Staples Canada’s new content platform expands its mission — and sales

Company Size

3,000

Year Founded

1992

Headquarters

Richmond Hill, Ontario

5

minutes to launch new promotions

150K

products now available online

1

fully-mobile site now serves all devices
Plan Type
Enterprise
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Main Challenges
  • Needed a robust CMS to integrate with its Shopify-based ecommerce platform

  • The flexibility to create, change and schedule content at will

  • A content platform that can scale as the business and the website grow

Solutions
  • Improved awareness: The Working and Learning blog attracts high traffic after tied directly to website 

  • Higher conversion: 2019 Black Friday/Cyber Monday two-day marketing pivot was a smashing success

  • Contentful’s extensibility and scale has given Staples.ca a robust content platform 

  • Brand consistency: Staples.ca now promotes brand as Canada’s “working and learning company”

Project Story

Staples Canada, formerly part of the US-based Staples Inc., is an independent, privately owned retailer that has expanded beyond office supplies to a range of business solutions, including co-working and hosting events, and is the largest retailer of office supplies and business solutions in Canada.

Staples.ca, the team behind Staples Canada’s website, needed a content platform that was flexible enough to publish new information instantly and agile enough to publish to all areas of the website — not just the ecommerce site. The site’s Working & Learning blog also needed a boost of discoverability, but Contentful helped turn all of that around.

Staples Canada teamed up with Contentful in mid-2019 as part of a complete overhaul of its digital platform, beginning with a more robust ecommerce solution than was available within Shopify. 

“We knew we could not launch Shopify without a powerful CMS,” says Jeff Serota, Staples Canada’s senior director for product management. “We needed to be able to edit individual content pieces, and schedule content for when we wanted to publish it.”

The perfect CMS had to be able to handle all types of content, from banners to rich media. It had to enable publishing to all parts of the website, not just the ecommerce site. The ability to schedule publication when the business needed it to was also critical. 

Staples.ca’s old platform refreshed once per day, which limited the business in critical ways. “With Contentful, we’ve gone from taking an extra day — or two — to launch a new product to being able to launch right after any of our partners tells us about a new product,” Jeff says. “If they launch at 1:00 p.m., we can have our own promotion live at 1:05. That’s better for our customers, and better for our partners. It’s an absolute game changer for us.” 

Increased traffic from Black Friday midnight launch results in new, fresh campaign for Cyber Monday

The ability to launch at midnight led to the company’s busiest Black Friday ever. Company leadership then revamped their Cyber Monday campaign. With just two days’ notice, the team made new banners, new content and new URLs, and had it ready for launch at midnight on Sunday — all thanks to Contentful. 

“Contentful allowed us to turn around a completely different promotion in just two days — and that weekend was a very busy, hectic weekend, one of the busiest of the entire year. It was a real win to be able to turn on a dime and do it better. Our customers were expecting something good on Monday, and we had it for them.” 

An ecommerce platform built on Contentful supports growth strategy and localization while focusing on the customer 

The new ecommerce platform uses a suite of best-in-class technologies for each function, concentrating on supporting the company’s growth strategy instead of spending energy on integrations. Contentful is the content engine for the entire ecommerce stack on desktop, mobile and the blog.

Translations are performed in-house instead of using automated translation technology, for accuracy in its website for both English and French. “Other technology has difficulty with that,” says Jeff. “They expect you to have two different setups, one for each language. With Contentful, it’s just a toggle on each piece of content to make sure it’s available in English and French, and it’s done.”

New fast and flexible content platform delights employees 

All of these integrations between technologies are seamless for both site visitors and the Staples Canada teams. “I have a single place where all this content is being offered,” Jeff says. “I don’t have to train people on a bunch of different tools to figure it all out. It all gets done in one place.”

Now that Contentful is part of their everyday work, team members are delighted with it. “We’ve absolutely changed their lives,” Jeff says. “It’s a single tool, it’s fast and it’s flexible. It lets them do what they need it to do. They no longer have weird constraints they don't understand. They’re unbelievably happy.”

Better customer experience, higher traffic and tapping into new markets with a digital-first approach

Staples.ca is now a seamless, satisfying experience for customers. They can find the products, services or advice they need quickly, and it all reflects the Staples Canada brand.

Staples.ca’s Working and Learning blog is also an important element in promoting the company’s expanded mission — rather than just acting as a direct sales tool, it provides Canadian small businesses with how to register your business, set up a website or find government support during the Covid-19 pandemic. New content on the website offers tips and advice for teaching remotely or supporting children’s at-home learning.

But before Contentful, the blog had scarcely any traffic. “Nobody went to it because nobody knew where it was,” says Jeff. “Now we get lots of blog traffic because it’s all directly tied into the site.”

Changes at Staples’ physical stores, like the addition of co-working spaces and events hosting, are also moving to digital, thanks to Contentful. “We have experts giving art classes, or business lessons such as how to network in this new world, how to start a business, how to set up an ecommerce site,” Jeff says. “We’re helping people adapt and learn to run their businesses in this new world we all live in.”

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